Anti-fracking protesters interrupted a climate change event at the Center for American Progress, yelling “climate leaders don’t frack” at Gov. Tom Wolf (D-Pa.).
The moderator of the discussion between Wolf, Gov. Gina Raimondo (D-R.I.) and Tom Steyer, founder of NextGen Climate, took just two questions from the audience before abruptly ending the event after the protesters interrupted.
The protesters held up signs that said “Gov. Tow Wolf: Ban Fracking Now” with the Food and Water Watch Fund’s logo on them. Pennsylvania remains one of the top gas-producing states in the country.
During the discussion, Wolf challenged young people to engage others on environmental issues outside of their college campuses.
“The place I am not seeing this engagement is at the level of our democracy, and so a handful of people can actually continue to control things and we don’t get policies we really ought to get. I have been a politician for a year. I am an ordinary citizen and I stepped forward because we have a democratic system we are not engaging. We are criticizing it and it deserve ample criticism,” he said.
“We’ve got to take that same sense of engagement we have on our college campuses and in our families and extend that to this ancient democratic and creaky system we have and make it work.”
The Supreme Court recently issued a stay on the implementation of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, Wolf’s administration has said it would continue to implement the federal regulations to reduce Pennsylvania’s carbon emissions. Critics of the Clean Power Plan argue that it would result in higher energy bills for consumers and have a minimal effect on global temperatures.
“I have a fight on my hands in many ways. If any of you are from Pennsylvania, you know we don’t have a budget yet and I’m trying to actually, I think, bring the government of Pennsylvania back to the people and the people have some decisions that they have not been permitted to make, I think, for too long in Pennsylvania and I want to change that,” Wolf said.
“I think the environment and alternative sources of energy, clean air, clean water, these are things we can do that make good, practical sense but also have a lot of popular appeal.”
Wolf recently proposed his new budget, which contains tax increases opposed by the Republican leadership in the House and Senate.
Following the event, PJM asked Wolf if he can guarantee energy prices would not go up for Pennsylvanians after the Clean Power Plan is fully implemented. Wolf declined to answer and left the room.